2014 Detroit Lions Regular Season Week Two Preview




This week, the Detroit Lions take on the Carolina Panthers.  The Lions dominated the New York Giants last week which will play into this week’s analytics.  The weaknesses are amplified though as the Lions will be without Bill Bentley, will start a new right tackle, and will be facing a mobile quarterback.  Add to that the penalties they faced last week and I expect this to be a disappointing game for Lions fans.

 

OFFENSE

  • Detroit Lions Offensive Line vs. Carolina Panthers Defensive Line –  The Lions would typically have an edge here against most teams but this week is different.  They are going to be starting a right tackle who was not expected to see any game time this year.  It will be either undrafted rookie Cornelius Lucas or previously released guard Garrett Reynolds.  The Panthers defensive line looked good against Tampa Bay.  Edge Panthers
  • Detroit Lions Tight Ends vs. Carolina Panthers Linebackers –  The Detroit tight ends looked good against New York, but given how they were expected to play, they underperformed.  This week they play a better linebacking group in Carolina.  I expect them to be held mostly in check with each one getting maybe a catch or two.  Edge Panthers
  • Detroit Lions Wide Receivers vs. Carolina Panthers Secondary –  The Panthers secondary is decent.  I would go out on a limb though and say they are not as good as the Giants secondary.  Given how the Lions torched the Giants secondary, and given the Calvin Johnson effect, this one has to go to Detroit.  Edge Lions
  • Detroit Lions Running Backs vs. Carolina Panthers Run Defense –  The Lions could not run against the Giants.  They tried but it just didnt happen.  Carolina, with the exception of one freak play, shut down the run against Tampa Bay.  Expect another poor effort running the ball for Detroit here.  Edge Panthers
  • Detroit Lions Quarterbacks vs. Carolina Panthers Pass Defense -Carolina got 2 picks and 3 sacks against Tampa Bay.  They allowed McCown to complete 62% of his passes though.  Matthew Stafford is light years ahead of McCown, and torched a good Giants secondary to the tune of a 70% completion rate and 340 yards.  Edge Lions

 

DEFENSE

  • Detroit Lions Defensive Line vs. Carolina Panthers Offensive Line –  The Detroit defensive line looked excellent against the Giants.  They had constant pressure on Manning and stuffed the run.  If they have the same effort against the Panthers, their offensive line should collapse the same way the Giants line did.  Edge Lions
  • Detroit Lions Linebackers vs. Carolina Panthers Tight Ends –  Detroit’s linebackers are good.  Levy continued to play at a great level.  The Giants though did not have a good tight end like Carolina does.  The Giants’ leading receiver ended up being their tight end.  Considering how often Greg Olson was targeted by the Panthers, expect the Lions to lose out here.  Edge Panthers
  • Detroit Lions Secondary vs. Carolina Panthers Wide Receivers – Carolina is weak at receiver.  One criticism of their fans was that last season they needed help at receiver, and instead they let Steve Smith and Brandon LaFell leave.  They did add Kelvin Benjamin who played excellent last week.  The Lions have a weak secondary.  They get James Ihedigbo back but lose Bill Bentley.  Bentley is getting replaced by a rookie.  Regardless of how they shut down the Giants,  Edge Panthers
  • Detroit Lions Run Defense vs. Carolina Panthers Running Backs –  The Lions run defense was great last week.  The Panthers run game was productive last week.  The Panthers have much better backs than the Giants did though.  If DeAngelo Williams is out, this gets easier for the Lions, but not by much.  Edge Panthers
  • Detroit Lions Pass Defense vs. Carolina Panthers Quarterbacks -This is the x factor right here.  Detroit has to stop the pass and stop Cam Newton from running.  Newton will likely use that to his advantage.  If Derek Andersen was starting it would be Detroit’s game to lose.  With Newton in, this weak pass defense looks even worse for Detroit.  Edge Panthers

 

SPECIAL TEAMS

  • Detroit Lions Return Team vs. Carolina Panthers Cover Team –  There probably wont be a big return by Ross, but the Panthers left enough opportunities for Tampa Bay to return kicks and punts, so I expect decent field position by Ross.  Edge Detroit
  • Detroit Lions Cover Team vs. Carolina Panthers Return Team –  The Panthers return man played well last week, but Detroit’s cover team did as well.  Add to that Sam Martin leaving little opportunity for a return on kicks and punts. Edge Detroit

 

TOTALS

Lions 5 Panthers 7

 

The results here look like a complete reverse of last week’s preview.  The difference here is that with Detroit, we do not know what to expect on Defense.  If Derek Andersen was starting at quarterback, the pass defense would get more credit for how the Giants game played out.  Detroit would have a solid advantage over Carolina.  The problem is that Cam Newton is a 2 time pro bowl quarterback coming off a great season last year.  He can run and pass.  It is too much for Detroit to defend against with a battered secondary.  Carolina wins a close one.  Carolina 30 Detroit 27


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